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ASX set to open flat again
ASX set to open flat again

UPDATE 8.55am: The Australian sharemarket has opened flat on the back of a mixed night of overseas trading.

At 8.40am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 3.6 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 4100.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.4 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 4137.4.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was up one point at 4,065, with 7,053 contracts traded.

The release of meeting minutes by the US Federal Reserve overnight disappointed traders hoping for an indication that another round of quantitative easing was on the way.

European markets were fixed amid the announcement of austerity measures in Spain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished trade down 48.59 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 12,604.53 and the S&P 500 down 0.02 points, a fraction of a per cent, at 1341.45.

The NASDAQ fell 14.35 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 2887.98.

The eyes of investors will be on today's release of monthly Australian employment data for June by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as a guide to how many jobs were created.

IG Markets market analyst Chris Weston said he thought the Australian share market was positioned for a negative jobs number.

“It is betting once again against the Australian economy but I think they could be slightly disappointed,” he told AAP.

“I think they could get an upbeat surprise here as we have been used to recently ... hopefully we get some good job numbers again and a bit of short covering coming through which is a good situation.”

He said a meeting by Japan's central bank about possibly increasing its asset purchase program to provide liquidity for economic growth could also move the market.

On the local bourse, in the resources sector global miner BHP Billiton was off 21 cents at $30.84, and Rio Tinto was 44 cents weaker at $55.21.

Among the major banks, National Australia Bank had firmed four cents to $23.63, ANZ was unchanged at $22.44, Commonwealth Bank added nine cents to $53.69, and Westpac improved three cents to $21.85.

The energy sector was performing strongly, following strong gains in crude oil prices amid reports of low inventories.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum had increased by 30 cents to $30.72, and Santos lifted 10 cents to $10.62.

In equities news, roads operator Transurban said it had lifted its annual toll revenue by nearly six per cent to $943.9 million.

Its shares had shot up 15 cents, or more than 2.6 per cent, to $5.83.

Australia's major telco Telstra said it was selling its New Zealand subsidiary TelstraClear to Vodafone for $NZ840 million ($A660 million).

Its securities were two cents higher at $3.88.

The West Australian

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